Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Changeable Lizard
   
   

Fig 1
 

Fig 2
 

Fig 3
 

Fig 4


Fig 5


 
 

 

Family : AGAMIDAE
Species : Calotes versicolor
Size (snout to vent) :10 cm
Size (total length) : 37 cm

This widespread Asian native can easily be found in parks and gardens, where it feeds on insects and other prey. Its colour ranges from brownish-buff to greyish, and in the breeding season the throat of the male becomes red and black, as in the photo at left. The species is identified by the short crest above the neck, the presence of small spines above the tympanum and by the lack of a shoulder fold. The male has swollen cheeks.

Commonly found amongst low shrubs and bushes, it will also scamper up tree trunks to avoid being detected. Like many agamids it lays its eggs in a hole in the ground.

The species ranges from Iran to India, and from southern China down to Thailand. Recently introduced to Singapore, it appears to have out-competed the native Green Crested Lizard Bronchocela cristatella, which now has a restricted range.


Fig 1 : Male in non-breeding colour, Singapore.

Figs 2 and 3 : Male examples in typical breeding colours, with orange head and anterior part of body, and black marking on the throat. Singapore.

Fig 4 : Female with yellowish-brown colour, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Fig 5 : Example from Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : H1, H2